Hold My Wake Without Me

ayam-jantanI refuse to die.

It is not that I am chicken, but that is close enough.

My refusal to shuffle off this mortal coil is simple: I could not bear the humiliation.

To understand that, you must understand this:

My wife and I will be driving somewhere when she will cry, “Oh look!”


“A giant chicken.”


“It must be twenty feet tall.”


“Stop, I want to take a picture.”


“You are not stopping.”


“Why are you speeding up?”

“I dunno.”

“The car is not doing that all by itself.”


“Turn around and go back.”


“Mister, think about this: which will you regret more, going back or NOT GOING BACK?

I turn the car around.

“Wise choice, buddy.”

Moments later, we pull into a parking lot that once served a greasy spoon restaurant. Now it only serves potholes and weeds. Not far from the front door, a giant plastic chicken sways precariously in the wind. It is not hard to guess why the restaurant failed.

“I want to take a picture.”

“You said that.”

“I can’t.”

“Why not?”

“I need you to stand by the chicken.”


This my friends is why I refuse to attend my own funeral.

You see, once I slip the bonds of earth, some unfortunate soul will have the job of putting together one of those celebration of life boards you always find at wakes.

The thing is, the only photographic evidence of my existence (other than a driver license photo that looks like I just got hit by a brick) is of me standing next to Babe the Blue Ox or a concrete Moby Dick.

Then of course, there is the chicken.

And a paisley hog.

And a giant can of SPAM…

Now that my wife is retiring and we plan to tour the country in our RV, the following items will soon to be added to the list.

Me posing with:

  • The world’s largest ball of twine, Darwin, Minnesota.
  • World’s largest man-made turtle, Dunseith, ND. (made out of 2,000 wheel rims).
  • World’s Largest Chest of Drawers, High Point, NC.
  • Giant Horseshoe Crab, Blanchester, OH.
  • World’s Biggest Beagle, Cottonwood, ID

You get the idea.

But it is not only me and my humiliation that I am thinking of, it is the fate of others.

“Oh look!” someone will say at my wake, “There is Greg standing next to the World’s Most Scenic Urinal in Kealakekua, Hawaii.”


“That’s quite a picture.”


“It is so Greg.”


“Take me there!”

“Thanks buddy…”

Author: Almost Iowa


69 thoughts on “Hold My Wake Without Me”

  1. I think you’re responding to the situation in a very rational way, considering. And there’s a giant chicken–or there used to be–in Two Harbors, Minnesota.

    Just sayin’.

  2. There is a whole string of world largest on the way to Theodore Rosevelt National Park, mostly in MN, but a couple in ND right off of I94. Photo oops galore. MN has a lot of such things; there is a book Monumental Minnesota that details most of them.

  3. What’s your wife’s email? I wanna let her know about the basket-shaped office building in Newark, Oh -you guys could run by there on your way to the Giant Horseshoe Crab… Total photo op…

    1. There is also a picnic basket shaped building in Dresden, Ohio. It is the headquarters of The Longaberger Company, a maker of handcrafted maple wood baskets.

  4. I like the idea of a giant chicken in front of a restaurant. I may be more midwestern than I care to admit to myself. Oh well, be who you are, I guess.

    1. In Michigan, they have a restaurant chain called “Big Boy” with a big boy outside. Their fare is “comfort food” and there are a lot of Big Boys and Big Girls inside too. Personally, I don’t qualify as Big, but I am working on it.

  5. Guess that’s why I’m usually the one standing behind the camera rather than in front of it. But I do think there are more “worlds biggest” gimmicks in the Midwest, so maybe we’re just lacking for opportunities out here.

  6. Honestly, I think your wife and my daughter must be related! But just so you know, if you’re ever in Missouri traveling on Highway 44, there’s the world’s largest rocking chair just waiting for you to be photographed by it. It’s on old Highway 66, somewhere between Cuba and St. James, I think. I’m sure you’re wife will find it!

    1. After I read your comment to her, she scribbled something in a notebook. Not sure what that was all about.

      How is that for denial? 🙂 🙂

  7. While I was chatting with the two other women as we took pics of the giant koala, mention was made of the giant ball of string.
    What’s wrong with giants?🤔😂😎

  8. I’m way behind in blog reading, but this title just drew me in. I was worried. Then I read it, and I’m really worried. But, just in case you get to NH and your partner is not sure where she wants to photograph your visit, here’s a link that she can use for research purposes – anything to help a friend out. 🙂

    1. I always wanted to go back to NH. Loved it 40 yrs ago and definitely will be touring through Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and the Maritime provinces.

  9. So what you’re telling us is : you ARE chicken. 😉 😀
    I’ve seen that ball of twine in Darwin! Went as part of a work trip…don’t ask.

  10. Don’t forget the world’s largest pecan in Seguin, Texas. Once you’ve stood next to it, people at the wake can amuse themselves trying to decide which is the nut.

  11. I would find your celebration of life photos a welcome break in the seriousness of those gatherings. Now, go chase down that roadside art. Remember the walleye in Garrison, the big buffalo in Jamestown, N.D., the ear of corn in Olivia, the giant prairie chicken in some town along I-94 near Fargo (the name eludes me)… You have a lot of living to do to reach all those destinations.

    1. The new trend at wakes is to show a digital montage of film clips from the life of the deceased. After discovering the video feature on her smart phone, my wife has threatened to create a montage of me throwing temper-tantrums from all the times I refused to pose by some roadside attraction.

  12. “It is so Greg.”

    Not that you don’t want people saying that at your wake, but not while you’re standing next to a faded giant chicken.

  13. We should all do this- so that after we’re long gone and aliens or our descendants plow through our ruins they think: these people really worshipped anything that happened to be the biggest of that particular thing at that time.

    Best April Fools prank ever.

  14. We just reviewed a lifetime of pictures of my grandmother, who passed last year. There were a few pictures in there of me; ones I distinctly remember posing for and thinking, “It’s okay. It’s not like this is going anywhere permanent.” -but, no, they do!

    1. Whenever my mother took exception to some aspect of our adult behavior, she would sit us down and look at old photos. The message was clear, look how stupid and willful you were back then…think how you will look in the future. Big hair and disco clothes are powerful tools.

  15. this is a different twist on the old prop me up next to the juke box tune. i wonder if those navigational systems have a don’t drive by giant chickens feature – even if it takes me 12000 miles out of my fastest route.

    1. I am sure that some place there is – and you know we will have to go there. It speaks to how my wife and I view travel differently. For her, it is like running bases and touching them all. I like to settle into some little town and stay there until the clerk in the bakery knows me by name.

      1. You and your wife definitely have different ways of traveling! And — ha! — a museum inside a quirky landmark could be a claustrophobic must-see. 🙂

  16. I just had my picture taken with the Planters NUTmobile! I didn’t know there was such a thing, but there it was in a Des Moines area parking lot. Had to do it. I do need to die sometime though, to take advantage of the tombstone my husband so thoughtfully got us already. It was on sale.

  17. On a serious note to your delightful humor on the subject, I have several friends and a few already dead that are now suffering with chemo and radiation. Oh, how they are suffering. My prostate cancer has returned and as treatment requirements intensify as time goes by I have decided I am not going to go through all that . Getting less afraid of death. Minister has been preaching last few weeks on “there can be no resurrection without death”. Has put things in a better perspective for me, a better picture indeed.

    1. So sorry to hear that, Carl. While blesses with good health, I have lost too many loved ones, friends and colleagues. I don’t know how I will face my time, but I hope it is with humor.

  18. The largest ball of twine? A giant chicken? You’re describing my dream vacation…
    And please, when you shake your mortal coils? Make sure your wife posts that photo tribute here!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: